Draft Commission Decision (EC) No…/.. establishing minimum thresholds for adventitious or technically unavoidable traces of genetically modified seeds in other products

29.04.2004

Draft Commission Decision (EC) No…/.. establishing minimum thresholds for adventitious or technically unavoidable traces of genetically modified seeds in other products

The Plant Biotechnology Unit of EuropaBio welcomes the Commission’s initiative to finalise this most urgently needed legislation. We have been working with the Commission services on this matter for more than three years, during which the marketing of seed of conventionally derived crop varieties within the European Union has been seriously disrupted because of a lack of EU rules. Furthermore, companies have had to work under the threat of criminal prosecution in some Member States as they have attempted to continue with their fundamental social and economic function of making supplies of seed available to farmers under unrealistic, unclear and legally disputable national rules.

Given the overriding urgency of establishing a clear legal framework, the Plant Biotechnology Unit acknowledged the rules proposed by DG Health & Consumer Protection (1542/2002/SANCO) upon which the Commission consulted stakeholders. We note, however, three major adverse changes in the current proposal: (a) the lowering of the labelling threshold for certified seed of hybrid maize from 0.5% to 0.3%; (b) the provision for Member States to enable voluntary labelling, whereby levels of adventitious or technically unavoidable presence of GMOs in non GM seed below the legally established labelling thresholds could be indicated on the label: or the exact value of admixture of GM seeds be given and (c) the obligation for companies to estimate the % of GM seed by the % DNA.

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